Keiko Tobe’s With the Light, set in modern day Japan, is a truly gorgeous story that will fill you with joy and compassion. As you walk through the struggles, pain, laughter, triumphs, and unwavering love that a mother experiences while coming to grips with the realization that her first born child is autistic and see all that she has to go through raising him, you find yourself emotionally invested and always curious for more as the author manages to hook you into the world of Hikaru, the young autistic boy. It is unequivocally awe-inspiring to see how Sachiko, the amazing mother, is able to provide the best for her son even in the face of such adverse situations and with, at times, little to no emotional support from those closest to her.
I’d highly recommend this read to anyone in 7th grade or higher, even adults…especially adults! I say that because Tobe’s tale is a Japanese graphic novel (more commonly known as manga) and it is a perfect “gateway book” for those who are unfamiliar with graphic novels, yet still a bit curious about them. Manga is a wildly popular genre right now and yields a highly favorable response from reluctant readers. The novels are read from back to front and Tobe’s four volume set has great intros and tips on exactly how to best follow them, which is wonderful for those who are new to the genre. With the Light also has lots of extra factual tid-bits strewn throughout the story about autism in general, where you can find support, as well as how it fits into certain aspects of modern Japanese culture.
So, if you’re an adult and don’t understand why the teen you know ALWAYS has their nose buried in a book that they seem to be reading backwards, then you need to investigate for yourself. Check out a manga! Not only will you be able to connect to your teen in a whole new fashion but you might find that you really appreciate the art form, too. Or if you’re a manga-loving teen and find that your parents just don’t understand, give them a copy and see what happens. You can’t go wrong if you choose With the Light. Place your hold today!